Filipino fighters at risk in brain scan scam

Source:AFP Published: 2017/8/15 22:28:40

150 boxers banned from ring under ‘strict’ medical testing procedures


A total of 150 professional boxers in the Philippines have been banned for falsifying brain scan results aimed at detecting serious head injuries in the sport, regulators said Tuesday.

The government has been imposing strict medical testing procedures following the deaths of several Filipino boxers from injuries sustained in professional fights in previous years.

"The welfare and safety of our ­boxers are part of our mandate. We do not want any more boxing deaths," Games and Amusements Board Chairman Abraham Kahlil Mitra told reporters on ­Tuesday.

The ban means one in seven of the country's 1,054 Filipino professional boxers are not allowed to step into the ring, the country's sports regulator said.

The board found 150 boxers had submitted "fake" CT scan results this year, apparently because they could not afford an actual test, the board's medical officer Radentor Viernes told AFP.

About half of those blacklisted have since submitted the required medical examinations and the ban against them will be reviewed, Mitra said.

The board is also investigating the involvement of other parties in the CT scan fraud, he added.

In 2012 the undefeated flyweight ­Karlo Maquinto, aged 21, collapsed and later died from a brain injury after only his ninth pro fight, having rallied from two early knockdowns to salvage a majority draw against a Filipino opponent.

Two other Filipino professional ­boxers also died from ring injuries in 2005 and 2008, Mitra said.

The Philipines is a boxing hotbed that has produced the likes of legendary Manny Pacquiao, winner of world titles in an unprecedented eight different weight divisions.

For many in the impoverished Asian nation, Pacquiao is an icon and role model and prizefighting offers one of the shortest tickets to fame and fortune for young Filipino males.

However, Mitra said many success-starved Filipino fighters were earning puny prizes and could not afford CT scans that the health ministry says cost at least 6,000 pesos ($170) or the more expensive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans costing almost three times as much.

"We've been criticized for being too strict but still that's our job and we maintain it that way," he added.



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